Let’s get a word in before the chancellor delivers the November budget and the Labour party wafts away into an “I told you so” rant.
No you didn’t. You said don’t cut (so much). But then you failed to support a single cut. And what’s missing, and (hopefully) coming, is investment stimulus.
You wanted to stimulate, yes. You wanted to cut VAT. Like, that helped in 2008. Probably Gordon Brown didn’t think the hole was deep enough as the global financial system collapsed, so he dug it a bit deeper with a cut in taxes that served to add a tiny fraction of a percentage point onto GDP for one quarter, whilst marginally tipping tax income over the edge of the precipice and pushing consumers further into debt. Thanks for that, the country appreciates it.
So, no: You might have spent the last two years talking only about practical, pro-business investment ideas whilst supporting cuts. Then you’d be a credible opposition. Instead you simply talked about giving more away, when our children will get the bill, that’s fine because your career horizon isn’t that long anyway.
It’s not a coincidence that not a single credible economic body disagreed with the austerity plans. It wasn’t really predictable that Europe would make such a hash of the world for so long.
You didn’t have a crystal ball. It’s not true that you said it wouldn’t work and it hasn’t. It is true that you played cheap populist tricks whilst the country tried to clean up the mess you made. The country needs to face fiscal reality, and you need to help it do that, if you want our respect and our votes.